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A SPONTANEOUS INVITATION EXTENDED WITH A REQUEST TO BRING ALONG nibbles--for a designated number of guests--is a popular way busy people make parties happen. This is just such a party. The recipes use ingredients found in almost any market, so guests assigned (by fax, perhaps) to prepare them won't have to make special shopping trips. The dishes also can be made ahead, a boon for those coming from the office--or for the hosts, should they decide to take on the whole menu.

Beverages can be handled in the same relaxed fashion. These foods go with a wide range of wines, beers, fruits juices, or bottled waters. Invite guests to bring what they like, or provide a variety they will enjoy.


Hominy Hummus Couscous Sushi Hot Fajita Wings with Guacamole Escargot Tumble Golden Fruits with Chevre Baked Beans and Sausage Bites Selection of Wines, Beers, Juices, and Waters

Hominy Hummus

For every 8 to 10 servings, offer about 2 pounds rinsed, trimmed raw vegetables such as bell peppers, jicama, and celery.

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) golden hominy 1 can (8 oz.) creamed corn 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 clove garlic 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/4 teaspoon cayenne 1/4 cup chopped radishes Crisp raw vegetables

Drain the hominy. In a food processor or a blender, combine the hominy, creamed corn, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and cayenne. Whirl until smooth. Mound hummus into a bowl. (If making ahead, cover and chill up to a day; let warm to room temperature.)

Sprinkle hummus with chopped radishes and offer crisp raw vegetables to scoop up the mixture. Makes about 1 2/3 cups hummus, 8 to 10 appetizer servings.

Per tablespoon: 18 cal. (10 percent from fat); 0.4 g protein; 0.2 g fat (0 g sat.); 4 g carbo.; 59 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Couscous Sushi

1/2 cup couscous 1/2 teaspoon Oriental sesame oil 1/3 cup minced carrots 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (or 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar) 2 ounces shelled cooked tiny shrimp 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion 2 tablespoons shredded pickled ginger About 3 dozen toasted nori (dried seaweed) squares, about 4-inch size Soy sauce Wasabi (directions follow) or prepared horseradish

In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Stir in couscous and oil; cover pan tightly and remove from heat. Let stand until couscous absorbs water, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Lightly stir in carrots; let cool. Gently mix in vinegar, shrimp, and onion. Spoon into a serving bowl; top with ginger. (If making ahead, cover and chill up to 6 hours.)

To eat, spoon couscous mixture onto nori; add soy and wasabi to taste. Makes about 2 1/3 cups, 8 to 10 appetizer servings.

Per tablespoon: 21 cal. (4.3 percent from fat); 1.2 g protein; 0.1 g fat (0 g sat.); 3.9 g carbo.; 39 mg sodium; 3 mg chol.

Wasabi. To make each tablespoon, mix about 2 tablespoons wasabi powder (green horseradish) to a firm paste with about 2 teaspoons water.

Hot Fajita Wings with Guacamole

1/4 cup honey 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons chili powder 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 to 2 1/2 pounds chicken wings, shoulder and midsection only, cut apart 1 carton (6 oz.) frozen avocado dip, thawed; or 1 cup homemade guacamole

In a large plastic bag, mix honey, lime juice, chili powder, and soy sauce. Add wings; seal bag and mix to coat. Chill, turning occasionally, at least 1 hour or up to a day.

Lift out wings and place in a single layer on racks in 2 broiler pans, each about 10 by 15 inches. Bake in a 450|degrees~ oven 15 minutes. Turn pieces over and continue baking until browned, 25 to 30 minutes. (If making ahead, let cool, wrap airtight, and chill up to 1 day; serve at room temperature or reheat in a single layer in pans in a 350|degrees~ oven for about 10 minutes.) Put wings on a platter.

Place avocado dip in a bowl set on platter with the wings. Makes 8 to 10 appetizer servings.

Per serving: 170 cal. (53 percent from fat); 10 g protein; 10 g fat (2.4 g sat.); 10 g carbo.; 363 mg sodium; 29 mg chol.

Escargot Tumble

1/2 pound firm chorizo sausage, coarsely chopped 1 can (4 1/2 oz.) extra-large snails, rinsed and coarsely chopped (or omit snails and use 1/4 lb. more firm chorizo sausage) 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced 1 can (5 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley Fresh parsley sprigs About 3 dozen small (about 1/4 lb. total) butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and crisped

Combine chorizo, snails, and garlic in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan. Stir over medium-high heat until sausage is lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Drain fat. Stir in water chestnuts and chopped parsley.

Pour mixture into a bowl; garnish with parsley sprigs. Serve warm (keep hot on an electric warming tray or in a hot water jacket over a low flame). Spoon mixture, a portion at a time, into lettuce leaves. Makes about 2 2/3 cups filling, 10 appetizer servings.

Per serving: 120 cal. (67 percent from fat); 7.6 g protein; 8.9 g fat (3.3 g sat.); 2.5 g carbo.; 64 mg sodium; 5.7 mg chol.

Golden Fruits with Chevre

2 tablespoons hazelnuts 8 to 10 ounces fresh or ripened chevre cheese (or chevre fromage blanc) 3 small (about 1 1/3 lbs. total) Golden Delicious apples or firm-ripe Bosc or Comice pears

Place nuts in a 9- to 10-inch-wide pan. Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven until nuts are toasted under the skin, about 10 minutes. Pour nuts onto a towel and rub to remove loose skin. Lift nuts from towel; discard the skins. Coarsely chop the nuts.

Arrange cheese on a board or platter. Sprinkle with toasted nuts. Mound apples or pears alongside. Offer an apple wedge cutter or a knife to slice whole fruit, 1 piece at a time. To eat, spread cheese and nuts onto fruit slices. Makes 8 to 10 appetizer servings.

Per serving: 107 cal. (56 percent from fat); 4 g protein; 6.6 g fat (0.1 g sat.); 9.3 g carbo.; 224 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Baked Beans and Sausage Bites

1 can (16 oz.) pinto beans, drained 1 can (16 oz.) baked beans 1 small (about 6 oz.) red onion, chopped 1 tablespoon mustard seed 1/4 pound Polish sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick 2 cans (16 oz. each) Boston brown bread or 1 pound sliced raisin bread

In a shallow 1- to 1 1/2-quart casserole, mash pinto beans. Stir in baked beans, all but 2 tablespoons of the onion (wrap remainder airtight and chill up to a day), and mustard seed. Scatter sausage over beans. (If assembling head, cover and chill up to a day.)

Cut brown bread in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices; if desired, cut slices in half. Or cut raisin bread slices into quarters. Lay pieces close together on 12- by 15-inch baking sheets. Bake in a 400|degrees~ oven until bread is toasted, about 15 minutes; turn slices after 6 minutes. Serve warm or cool; wrap cool bread airtight up to a day.

Bake beans, uncovered, in a 400|degrees~ oven until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle reserved onion over beans. Serve hot or warm; spoon beans and sausage onto bread. Makes about 4 cups, 10 to 12 appetizer servings.

Per serving: 259 cal. (16 percent from fat); 9.3 g protein; 4.5 g fat (1.1 g sat.); 47 g carbo.; 502 mg sodium; 9.3 mg chol.
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Title Annotation:Holiday Entertaining; recipes
Author:Anusasananan, Linda Lau
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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